Late last week I saw a post on Facebook about a video circulating online of GoDaddy’s CEO Bob Parsons shooting and killing an elephant in Africa. I didn’t want to watch the video which was described as graphic and disturbing, so I did a quick Google search and found enough articles about it to know the video was legit and the elephant episode did in fact go down. Parsons had already issued a statement to the effect of, “Yes I killed an elephant and knew it would turn into a kerfuffle, but so be it. That’s the kind of guy I am.”
As I dug a little deeper I learned that Parsons is also the kind of guy who likes ogling scantily clad women in his video blog and endorses (or at least apologizes for) torturing prisoners at Guantanamo. Because I like to give credit where credit is due, I’ll give Parsons some points for not backtracking and trying to pretend that the elephant video is anything other than what it is, or that he is anything other than an elephant-killing macho ex-Marine who thinks it’s cool to lure people to his blog with a “smoking hot crazy blond” [sic]. With those points (OK, maybe just 1) duly given, I have to say I was pretty wowed by what an unabashed creep this Parsons is.
Things got really interesting from a PR point of view when the elephant video went viral, PETA announced it was transferring all its domain names from GoDaddy, and numerous businesses and organizations called for a boycott of GoDaddy, the behemoth of domain name registrars. Then Namecheap.com had the brilliant idea to offer a BYEBYEGD promotion, slashing its price per transfer to $4.99 and donating $1 for each transfer to Save the Elephants. Judging from the comments at Namecheap’s Facebook page and other blogs reporting on the elephant fiasco, GoDaddy appears to be bleeding customers by the gallon.
The elephant killing and everything else it helped reveal about GoDaddy’s CEO inspired me to switch all my domain registrations (I used Namecheap, but others like BlueHost and DreamHost are good options too). I only wish I had done so a few years ago when GoDaddy started running those awful soft porn ads with Danica Patrick. I already had a lot of names registered with them and the hassle of doing the transfer kept me from finally getting it done, despite how icky and misogynistic those ads are. I’m just glad I now know the full story about GoDaddy’s CEO which motivated me to get off my butt.
To the readers of my books, please know that I certainly no longer recommend GoDaddy, which I’m sorry to say is specifically named in chapters that discuss domain name registration and other related services. In my most recent book, The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit, I actually mentioned the “sleazy ads” as a caveat to recommending this company and now I wish I hadn’t recommended them at all. Needless to say I’ll be recommending a new domain registrar at the next printing of each book!
Considering how quickly this all transpired it’s yet to be clear how many customers GoDaddy will ultimately lose; certainly it might get a boost from its target demographic of folks who enjoy big game hunting and big boobs. But despite the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” I’d say Parsons may have just stepped in a major pile of elephant dung with this whole episode and will be scraping it off his boots for quite some time.